One of the great things about Makeshift is that we consistently get to work with a wonderful group of vibrant and exciting actors each of whom has a passion for entertaining audiences young and old alike. We consider ourselves a family, and while we have many actors that come and go throughout our seasons, we do have close friends that return season after season to entertain and inspire young audiences. As part of our Anniversary season, many faces of Makeshift old and new are happy to offer their own personal thoughts and memories about their experiences in theatre. For the Previous Update, click Here!
Today I'm chatting with Erika Geller, who joins Makeshift Theatre Co for the role of Bryanna in The Emperor's New Clothes. Erika is a graduate of Brandeis University where she studied Theatre Arts and Women's and Gender Studies. She has been acting since she was Bryanna's age but started getting serious about it when she was in high school. In addition to loving acting, Erika tells me that she enjoys fall weather, chocolate, and puppies.
What is your favorite children's story and why?
My favorite children's story is Peter Pan because I'm a big kid who never wanted to grow up! The story is also about the acceptance of change. It's great to be Peter but eventually everyone needs to take a cue from Wendy and learn that growing up isn't that bad - as long as you never lose your imagination.
Tell us something unique about yourself.
I was a competitive alpine ski racer for eleven years. I still love to ski, but I haven't raced in a long time. Maybe some day but for now I'll stick to the stage - it's a lot warmer there than on the slopes!
What is it like working with the director?
Caitlin is a great director because she knows what she wants, but lets the actors find their own way of getting there. She's more like a really fun tour guide through this adventure.
What's the most difficult thing you've ever had to do as an actor?
When I was in college I spent a semester living in London studying drama. While I was there we took class from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. five days a week for three months. It was very tiring and at one point I was playing over ten different characters at once - memorizing all those lines (and keeping them straight!) was a lot of work but I learned so much that it was absolutely worth it. I came out of that semester a much humbler and better prepared actress and it has totally paid off in the months since then.
What advice would you give to kids who want to be actors?
I'm sure you've heard this before but, it's true. "When the going gets tough, the tough get going." Acting is hard work and incredibly unpredictable but the one this you can control is how hard you work at it. Take pride in what you do - memorize your lines on time, stay focused in rehearsals, and ALWAYS be positive when you tell people you work in the theatre. It's a fabulous tradition to be a part of!